Slovak Smart City Cluster participates in the certification of cluster organizations within the ECEI Cluster Management Benchmarking, which is organized by the European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis (ESCA) of VDI / VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH in cooperation with the Slovak Innovation and Energy Agency (SIEA). The aim was to obtain a Euro pean assessment and recognition recognized by cluster managers and policy makers across Europe. Since 2008, more than 1,100 cluster management organizations have been tested according to this methodology.
ESCA is the European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis. Based in Berlin and hosted by VDI/VDE Inno- vation + Technik GmbH, ESCA advises cluster managers and policy makers on cluster development while relying on an international network of nearly 200 specifically trained cluster experts. By being linked to and involved in the European Clusters Excellence Initiative (ECEI) Phase I (2009 to 2012) and Phase II (2017-2019), ESCA experts have contributed to the development of various tools that support cluster managers on their way to excellence.
After meeting the eligibility criteria of the benchmarking evaluation, the Slovak Smart City Cluster achieved the designation of a bronze label of the functioning of the cluster of the European level on the basis of comparison with the level of “excellent management of clusters”. It meets the “Eligibility Criteria for Cluster Management Excellence Labels <https://www.cluster-analysis.org/eligibility-criteria>” and has been awarded the “BRONZE Cluster Management Excellence Label”. This level of ECEI BRONZE is valid for two years after the award, and the SSCC can apply for another process of increasing excellence after maintaining the current level and meeting the recommendations in the received Report on the level of management of the clusters.
Achieving the ECEI BRONZE assessment ranks the Slovak Smart City Cluster among cluster organizations operating at the European level. Inclusion in international structures will bring the cluster new opportunities in realizing the vision and goals with other partners on the domestic and European platform.
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Clusters are considered to be an important factor that strengthens the prosperity of regions, affects the inflow of investment, creates an environment conducive to innovation and knowledge creation, and ultimately benefits the national economy of the state. For this reason, cities and regions with strong clusters are considered innovation leaders. Cities and urban regions are a key market for the products of the knowledge-based economy of the 21st century, absorbing and actively exploiting the synergies of innovative solutions and approaches.
The Slovak Smart City Cluster initiative was created as a response to this development not only in the Slovak business environment but also in local governments, especially in the context of developing new synergies, which we need for the 21st century economy integrating innovations in data processing, sustainable energy sources and their sustainable use and the shared economy.